Can you get a car lease on a cheaper auto?

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Dear Driving for Dollars,
I have a limited amount of money to spend on a new car, and I want something small and fuel efficient. My brother thinks leasing a new car would be better than buying an older car because of the repair costs, and I don’t drive very many miles. But I’m wondering: Can you lease a cheap car?
— Barb

Dear Barb,
It’s more common for a manufacturer to offer car leases on more expensive cars as a cheaper way to get more people to drive them. Still, some inexpensive cars have good lease deals.

For example, Nissan is currently offering a $179 monthly lease payment for 39 months (with a $2,499 down payment) on the 2010 Nissan Cube — a small boxy car that gets 31 highway mpg and starts at $13,990 — to qualified lessees. Do some research on which inexpensive, fuel-efficient cars might suit your needs, and visit the manufacturers’ websites to see what car lease deals are currently being offered.

You might also look at lease-trading sites, such as or, where you can sometimes find good deals from individuals looking to escape their car leases before the end of their leasing contracts.

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If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories.

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